Style is the expression of an aesthetic, whether in writing, film, music, or interior environments. Ideally, the style expresses the personality of the inhabitant. Below are 5 design principles you can use to create spaces that are personally congruent and visually impactful.
1. Identify What Resonates
Identify a few aesthetic qualities to which you are drawn, such as certain color combinations, shapes, materials, finishes, or other elements. You might read a book like “Style Statement” by Carrie McCarthy & Danielle LaPorte, or take quizzes on HGTV’s website to help you get started. Or you may analyze the styling in your favorite films or note the brands that you gravitate towards; for example, your preference for Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein will help you hone in on your personal taste.
2. Focus On A Concept
Choose a concept that you relate to, such as “country modern” or “art gallery.” Hold every design idea to your concept, as you would if choosing an outfit for “cocktail hour.” When something does not fit the look, decide to exclude it or change it to make it feel like it belongs. Do not attempt to use too many ideas. Rather, keeping things simple will create a cohesive look.
3. Allow for Organic Development
Meaningful items chosen over time will be personal and tell a story, creating a look that is both unique and naturally timeless.
4. Take A Risk
Once you know your aesthetic comfort zone, take two steps beyond it to add an element of surprise to the expected. For example, you can paint the exposed brick walls of a room black, which can create a Zen-like space, or give new life to an original piece of furniture by painting it a bright and unusual color such as chartreuse. Interior designer David Bromstad refers to this as adding “drama.”
Repetition amplifies the cohesion and perceived sophistication of a space, perhaps because the human brain is an “evolved pattern-recognition machine”. For example, series of white columns at the font of the White House create an iconic visual, whereas two columns alone would not. Layer colors, shapes, textures or other elements to establish a rhythm in a space, which will create visual “conversation.”
Use any one, several, or all of the 5 principles above, in any order that you wish, to create a look that is truly stylish!